Resurfacing to breathe

Well I’m still neck deep in work…more and more seems to accumulate and I have a tag and a follow up post pending. But I’m doing neither and will instead write about an issue that has been simmering for a long time now and yesterday I was left fuming with the situation..

My friend D, the one I mentioned in passing earlier got married two years back. She a Tamilian met and fell in love with a Punjabi guy A. Complete recipie for disaster right from the word go..her parents were ok with the whole deal, his were not. They tried everything under the sun to stop the match..saying that she was too dark (I swear she is not, not like it matters but still), their horscopes don’t match, the astrologer said that A would die if they went ahead and got married, the marriage wouldnt last…every nasty thing possible was hurled at the poor girl. Now she is a perfect being, a senior from school, she was really someone I looked upto…she was really intelligent, excellent vocalist, great at sports, complete grace in handling herself..she was the complete package.

For about a year they kept yo yoing with the marriage thing…I tried talking her out of it for I don’t know what reason but I was really uncomfortable with her boyfriend. Finally they agreed and the wedding was fixed in lightening speed before A’s parents could change their minds and the wedding happened. A was working in Madras then and D was based out of Delhi in a job that involved extensive travel. A lived in with a room mate and D lived with her aunt in Delhi when she was there and her parents of course were in Madras. As the wedding took place really soon, they didnt have time to plan out how they were going to sort out their careers. So here they were married, headquartered in different cities and no clear plan as to what their future course of action would be. A’s parents fired the first salvo and said that they couldnt live in Madras…because she didn’t want her son to fall under any more evil Southie influences..so he had to find a new job…it made sense to choose Delhi because she was anyway working out of there. This though was fairly sick was still acceptable. Then came the bigger blow..no staying in D’s parents house when D was working out of her Madras office. Now A as I said earlier was living with a room mate..in a two bedroom house, with just one attached bathroom. So these newly weds lived with another guy in the house..in a room that had the bathroom attached to it…

Then there were digs and taunts, A’s dad never spoke to D…loads of bitchiness on the whole.

But they managed to sort out their jobs, both of them moving jobs based out of Gurgaon. There was an uneasy calm…but I could get a sense that A..who swore his undying love, who fought valiant battles against his parents was changing..bit by bit.

Now a fresh crisis has taken over. A’s sister has gotten herself a job in Gurgaon and is living with them. What’s the big deal you ask? Well the sister hates D (yeah a 25 year old), doesnt speak to her, doesnt do a spot of work in the house, wants to be lorded over, cooked for, driven around the place, won’t sit in the same table as D, will leave her used sanitary napkins lying around the place, basically causing hell for D. Now D has decided that enough is enough and refuses to put up with her anymore. She can’t get the sister out of the house, so she has decided switch jobs and move cities. A recently changed jobs so he cannot follow her. He cannot ask his sister to behave and he cannot ask her to get out..she earns a good salary and can for sure support herself. So D has found herslf a job in Bombay and A has told her that he can get a transfer in 6 months. So in the middle of salary negotiation and finding a place in Bombay I received a call from D.

She is not too sure she wants to move now. She is sure that she does not want to live under the same roof as A’s sister, but at the same time she has doubts….Those words sent a chill down my spine..I knew all was not rosy, but this?

“Pirichidivalonnu bayama irikku”

(Translated “I’ m scared they’d plot to separate us”)

These words have been echoing in my ears since yesterday. Here are highly educated people, people who have graduated from the cream of educational institutes in India, people working in top companies in the world. And the girl is scared of leaving her husband alone with his sister and perhaps parents because she is worried that they’d break up her marriage. I was too stunned to react to this and tried chiding her by telling her that A isnt a baby and is fully capable of making his decisions and holding his own..and she replied saying that I didn’t know how guys can change around their parents and family.

I mumbled something and ended the conversation there. My heart goes out to her…my first instinct was to think that if you can’t trust your husband enough to leave him around his family for six months, you’re better off without him..what kind of a marriage was this? But I really didnt want to say anything to her because I have spent a large part of my adult life telling my mother that she should have gotten a divorce early on in her life and always grew up thinking that if a guy were to hurt me in any way I was booting him out of my life, so much so my brother would joke that it would be a wonder if my marriage lasted 10 days…all this was before I met KT. All of this was playing in my head as I was talking to her and I wasnt sure if that instinct was resurfacing in me or whether I was thinking correctly, so I really didn’t want to say anything before examining my feelings.

Spoke to KT about it, now he has had very limited interaction with the two of them, we stayed one night with them in Gurgaon and needless to say D came out in flying colours in KT’s opinion and A flunked out miserably…the scene that played out there was right out of some 10 years ago…D cooking breakfast / lunch / juice , serving it to the great man who was sunning himself in the balcony reading his newspaper. Even KT felt queasy and offered to help. It was very very awkward to say the least.

When I  told KT what she had told me, he reacted in the exact same manner as I did and wants me to tell her that she is better off without A. Now D doesn’t have any other friend as such and I’m the only one. I know I need to give her my honest views, tell her how I feel…but is this crossing the line? I for one am not candid with her regarding my problems, so is that guilt holding me back from telling her what I feel. Or is it not my business at all? Should I go ahead and tell her? Is she asking me in order to hear from another person what she fears? I am really torn and am not sure how I need to handle this..suggestions please..

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15 Responses

  1. Is she asking you for advice? If yes, then you should tell her, not what she ought to do, but how you perceive the situation as an outsider. That might help her (a bit) to view it objectively.
    It’s terribly sad. I do hope she finds happiness.

    Yeah that is the point…she hasnt directly asked..but we’re really close…I even tried asking her what her parents feel about all of this and she said that they obviously want her to stay together..yeah but the whole deal about telling her how I feel Vs telling her what to do makes sense for sure.

  2. I think you should tell her what you feel about the situation but not in a way that makes her feel bad about A becoz if she’s bothered about them being sepaated she obviously does feel strongly about him. Love and its sister, attachment, is strange and makes you behave in ways that are weird for others to understand. But…. I am appalled that a man of marriageable age cannot ask a brat sister to behave. That is unacceptable.

    Thanks for stopping by! Do you have a blog?? Yeah it is appalling…man of marrigeable age…educated from an IIT and IIM and as backward as someone in the 10th century..it breaks my heart.

  3. Your friend D is facing the same situation as I faced approx 3 years back. M’s sister’s HATE me for marrying their brother. Surprisingly I was on talking and occasional phone /email terms with his sisters before wedding and all of a sudden all that changed and I sensed it but M was too positive about his family being very welcoming to me. I am a strong believer in not saying things rather waiting for the moment to prove I am right. M moved to Cyprus a month before me and I was supposed to dispose off our household possessions and rent out the Bangalore house, arrange for my visa and ticket and send my cargo to Cyprus.
    There was only on consulate in Delhi and I had to live with his sisters for six days and well they made me move to a hotel by fourth day end. Those four days were really torturous and I really really prayed to god to get out of the place. Came to Cyprus and told my husband all that happened.
    Surprisingly he tried to understand the reason why they behaved and I kept silent, because I feel no reason should make you behave so bad towards a new member in the family. I never put any conditions in front of M about his relationship with his sisters. But I had two sentences, I am not going to have any kind of conversation / relationship with your sisters and if you want to invite one of them to our house give me a notice of one week, I will like to book a room in a hotel for the duration of their stay. I guess your friend should not move out rather have a proper conversation with her husband, but she should not speak anything against her SIL but talk about how things are effecting her.

    Welcome here Jayashri and thanks for sharing your story..but the difference is that the relationship with your husband is such that you can tell him how you feel and he understands and another positive is that there is limited interaction with your sisters in law…because you live away and you can afford to go away and live in a hotel. However here she is so insecure in her marriage that she is afraid it will break up because she lives away.

  4. I think you should talk to her regarding what would you do if you were in the situation. And yeah I understand it is quite difficult to suggest when not asked for it. Try and ask her if she would mind you both talked about it openly and freely.
    Finally, yes, if she can’t trust her husband around his family for 6 months, she’s better off without him.
    I used to say the same thing as you did regarding marriage and leaving husband if shit is dished out at me. And I still stand by it. Self respect and self esteem are certainly something.

    Yeah I need to talk to her and I do think I should tell her how I feel rather than tell her what she should do..

  5. GDS, thanks so so much for your comments…I am trying to hang on…it feels likeits the end of the world, but I know its not…….

    Oh you take care girl…and do mail me if you need anything.

  6. I feel you should talk to her. Tell her what you feel, honestly but showing her she has all the support you can give.
    Better to have her out of there, sooner rather than later.

    Trust me, I get what you mean about families plotting to separate a couple.

    Honestly I have never come across families plotting to separate a couple married already, before the wedding yes…but after?? Seems highly pointless to me.

  7. And here I was thinking that I got the worst deal when I got married. The only reason I am able to withstand all bullshit happening around me is because of my husband’s support. By saying that he is supporting me, I do not mean that he is blindly following my words. He has the good sense to judge what’s right and what’s wrong and he acts accordingly. But if hubby itself is weak and cannot stand up against injustice, what can a woman do?? I am at loss of words about what to tell you regarding your friend. May God be with her.

    Hi Lavs, welcome here! I’m sorry to hear your story and what you’d written on your blog…but really glad that you have a nice sane husband that you can count on!

  8. Dont get me wrong but I sincerely feel they need to talk. Sulking and breaking up without giving a chance to discuss things is unfair.

    Oh it isnt sulking and breaking up for sure….its been two years since they’ve been married and the situation with the inlaws has only worsened and unfortunately their relationship as well..

  9. I think A & D need to talk as well – she needs to tell him what his sister is doing to his life – if he knows that she is not the kind of person to be making up crap – he will believe her. It’s a bloody hard situation – her fear that his family may plot something might be very real considering his sister is treating her like that. Yet – if he truly believes in the marriage and her – he won’t care what they do.

    I think what CW said is good – giver her ur perspective as an outsider – she may realise what she needs to do from that. I hope things go well…

    Yeah Sil, the hard part is that, he knows that his sister is being very mean to her, yet he won’t do anything about it except a half hearted attempt to talk to her, which ended up in her blaming D for having started a “fight”. And knowing D as well as I do, she is definitely pushed to a corner by her behaviour, she is not the average intolerant person. I really hope A has his head firmly on his shoulders

  10. GDS-first time here…..this topic is so close to my heart that I am delurking here…

    Alost exactly the same thing happned with my close firend who lives in florida….i was listening to all her cribbings,complains,horror stories of how her hubby was treating her and such for almost over a year..initially for few months i used to tell her that she should sort this out byt talking to him and it all makes sense if THEY want to save the relationship….so after a point i lost patience and was telling if she had so much against him she should leave him…but somehow she stuck and now after 1 year of not fighting no intimacy and major family intervention , they are back together and trying for a baby…

    what i wanted to convey was this – if atleast one personin the relationship wants to save it, then a chance should be given to do so…..they should talk it out and solve it !but defly TALK it….and one thing is….with this chaos this long distance thingie should be thought about…coz that is like adding fuel to the fire..if you kow what i mean…

    Phew! comment longer than the post 🙂

    Welcome here and so are your long comments!! Good that your friend has sorted out her issues. But D is very sure that she doesnt want to live under the same roof as A’s sister. Sure enough to want to live alone in Bombay, spending truckloads of money on rent, airplane tickets, phone calls everything. I’ve lived in Bombay alone and she knows through me what it really entails. Yeah it adds fuel to the fire for sure, but is it that acid test that A needs as well?? Or are these things like marriage not to be subject to acid tests?? I don’t know 😦

  11. ok seriously, i didnt even re-read it before publishing it..so pardonmy yucky typos…

    Iss ok 🙂

  12. Moreever, What I feel your friend is the best person the ONLY person who knows what exactly is happening over there. When things go from one to another they have danger of miscommunicated and then misinterpreted.

    Guess when a boy gets a girl against his families wish; it is obvious that one can not expect the life to be cake walk. Sitting here across we would not know how much effort the stake holders have contributed to accept the situation and make it workable. It is obvious that if every one wants to take charge of their ego and not ready forget/forgive the other person nothing can be worked out of such situation.

    In any personal matter the other like we all here can only suggest finally the person involved needs to make all the efforts and moves. I have felt the things look more horrid from a distance when they are not actually. Some times the case can be otherwise as well.

    I hope what you’re saying about things looking horrid from a distance is true. And yeah you’re bang on when you say that life isnt a cake walk for them considering their history, and it is a very delicate balance that A needs to find..between his wife and his parents…it isnt an easy thing to do. But to me and to D it does seem that he isnt trying to be fair on her..and that he is tilting more towards his parents. Which is unfair for D. My parents have had an extremely torrid marriage and my dad’s sister (now estranged) was awful and extremely difficult. But whatever grouses my ma may have against my dad, she always gives him credit for balancing the two of them well when they were together. My dad always put his sister in place when she acted smart…and what we’re talking about is basic human courtesy….we’re not looking for them to bond and be best of pals..

  13. Is A even noticing how obnoxious his sister is??

    My personal experience with the Boy is that he’s fair in his judgement. While he loves his family, if he thinks I am right, he stands up for me, no matter what. And he realises that apart from being a husbad/son, he’s also someone’s husband and has to play that role as well.

    Coming to ur friend, I think there is nothing wrong in telling her how u feel. Not really”advicing”, if not asked for it, but the fact that she has talked to you about her issues indirectly, means she needs someone to help her out.

    BUT, keep ur personal prejudice/judgement of her husband aside. If at this point she wants to make it work, help her build those channels of communication. tell her, in a life long relationship, how many times/how often will she change cities and jobs??

    Its HER house, that she’s set up with her husband, there should be rules for everyone to follow. If the sister can’t hlp out, still fine, as long as she takes care of her pown shit.

    But A and D need to talk. And immideately!

    Yeah what you said bout me keeping my judgement out is very important, which is why I’m really scared about saying anything. I’m scared of being influenced by my judgement and my tendency to be very very hot headed when I see a guy treating his wife badly (from my parents’ experience). And the main problem here is the girl isnt following the rules of the house, hell she doesnt even talk to D…leave alone helping around. Now as it is D who has a full time demanding job does the work at home without any help from A, now another addition who behaves so badly has really tipped the scales for her. I don’t know if I have conveyed the impresssion in my post that this is a unilateral decision by D…but that isnt true…they have talked and argued enough. And in fact I was trying to tell her to move to Bangalore rather than Bombay because life is easier there and she said A did not want to move to Bangalore later. So I suggested that she could do it temporarily for the 6 months that she has to live alone…and joked that later she may manage to convince A into finding a job there..she remarked that if she managed to convince A into doing something about the situation with his sister she would be happy. So yeah she has tried her darnest best to shake him into doing something bout his sister…no results so far..

  14. I think you should tell your friend. Most likely the reason why D is not standing up for his wife, is because he is too much of a mamas boy, irrespective of him marrying his choice. his parents must be emotionally blackmailing him. Or there is a major communication gap. A should have a heart to heart.

    I was in the same situation. I got out, rather realized all my efforts were futile and even more so after my daughters birth and walked away. And have no regrets and made right choice.

    Am posting straight w/o reading any of the comments, had to get it out!

    Thanks for stopping by here and talking about your experience..and I’m glad you’re happy now..it takes a lot of courage to do what you did and I really admire that…I did visit your space but because of some technology issues havent been able to comment

  15. I think A feels guilty about marrying a girl of his own choice and his family uses that to blackmail him. It is common in North India to pamper husband’s sisters. She is like a little MIL. isn’t it possible for D to handle the girl without her husband’s help? She could tell the girl to behave or be kicked out. Her marriage, despicable as it sounds right now will probably be fine if she keeps it going for the first few years.
    Parents wanting to break their son’s love marriages is a done thing, I recently met some sample. read about them here:
    http://lifeofanindianhomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/02/truth-about-indian-marriages-indian.html

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